MEPs express concern over food security

Fresh investment in agriculture and greater price stability are needed to ensure food security, both in the EU and in the rest of the world, according to a new report adopted this week by the European parliament in Strasbourg.

While much of the report focuses on initiatives to bolster food production in developing countries, it also calls for “immediate and continual action to ensure food security for EU citizens”.

“Food should be available at reasonable prices for consumers while, at the same time, a fair standard of living for farmers should be ensured,” it says.

At the global level, the report suggests a number of initiatives to alleviate world hunger, including a food inventory, a new stock holding obligation and better storage for inputs such as seed and fertiliser in developing countries.

More EU development aid should be targeted at agriculture, it adds, and a permanent food security fund established.

But the report, which was prepared by Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness and adopted by a large majority of MEPs on Tuesday (13 January), also focuses on EU agriculture.

“Parliament believes the CAP must remain the cornerstone of EU food security policy, now and beyond 2013,” it says.

It calls for EU agriculture spending to be kept at a “stable and constant level” to guarantee a fair income for farmers, and for effective insurance policies to be made available to protect producers against massive price fluctuations.

It also demands “a detailed assessment of the impact on food security of proposed EU legislation on plant protection products“, and an analysis of the effects of the global financial crisis on the agricultural sector.